Düsseldorf 1827 - 1905
Procession by the St.
Maria in Aracoeli in Rome. Signed lower left: Osw. Achenbach. Oil on canvas. 54 x 46,5cm. Framed.
Private collection, North Rhine-Westphalia.
- Schmidt, J. Heinrich: Oswald Achenbach. Düsseldorf 1946. (Cf. ill. 151, p. 140)
- Jacobi a Voragine Legenda aurea. Dresden 1846 (Latin text), p. 39-47.
The atmosphere in Oswald Achenbach's present work is especially lovely due to the twilight on the hill, enriched with the incense's haze and the bright candles lit by the participants of the procession. The busy activities in the foreground contrast with the acolytes' devoutly striding up-hill.
The church's foundation myth is described in the Legenda Aurea and undoubtedly belongs to the most famous annunciations of Christ's birth. Legend has it that the Emperor had a vision of a woman in an aureola who - high in the sky - held a child in her arms. They immediately summoned pagan oracle, known as the Tiburtine Sibyl, interpreted the dream as an omen of the Saviour's birth during the Emperor's rule. The Emperor recognized the heavenly rule of Christ and had a heavenly altar (ara coeli) built in the Temple of June to honour Christ and the woman.